Names like Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, and Bo Bichette may lead the 2021 All-Star game vote at American League shortstop, but there is another whose defense and uplifting bat should earn him a spot for the Midsummer Classic.
The 2021 All-Star game in Denver, CO will include at least one member from each team. Looking at the stats, making the case for J.P. Crawford makes the most sense.
Seattle Mariner shortstop J.P. Crawford’s 2021 campaign may not be recognized by the All-Star game fan vote, but that doesn’t mean he is undeserving.
Making The Case: Defensive Leader
The Mariner shortstop in his 3rd year with the ballclub has been picking up right where he left off after the shortened 2020 season. After a season that ended with Crawford winning a gold glove, Crawford now leads all of baseball in defensive WAR with 1.6.
It is no secret to Mariner fans that the best part of J.P.’s game is his defense. Winning a gold glove in 2020 was the culmination of terrific defensive play since he became a Mariner. His glove on the left side of the infield is one of the reasons why the Mariners lead baseball in double plays turned with 83.
Making The Case: Growing Offensive Production
Defense alone isn’t good enough most of the time to make it as an All-Star. Offense has never been Crawford’s strong suit, but 2021 seems to deviate from that notion.
Offensively, Crawford’s production is higher than any time in his career. J.P. has a current batting average of over .280 with 33 RBIs and almost 80 hits not even halfway through the season. These numbers have helped him reach an offensive WAR equaling his defensive WAR of 1.6.
Making The Case: Compared to the Top Vote Leaders
To put this dWAR stat into perspective, of the three current vote leaders, Carlos Correa is the closest to Crawford’s dWAR with 1.1. Xander Bogaerts, who is the current leading vote-getter for the position, has a negative dWAR meaning his defense hinders the team over the course of the season.
Making The Case: Other Mariners That Deserve Recognition
One thing that does need to be clear is that J.P. is not the only Mariner that deserves to go to Denver. Making the case for players like Yusei Kikuchi, Kendall Graveman and Mitch Haniger would be easy because of the high levels of play from them.
In a deciding year for Kikuchi, his pitching has improved tremendously and now leads the team’s starting pitchers with a sub-3.35 ERA and 87 strikeouts through 14 starts.
The deadman, Kendall Graveman has emerged himself as a top reliever for Seattle with high velocity and a devastating sinker. While his role on the team is not fully defined, his ability has helped Seattle win a number of close games.
Mitch Haniger is the feel-good story of the spring for Seattle. Coming off a major injury in 2019, Haniger started this year hot making it look like he never left. Leading the team with 17 home runs and slugging nearly .500, his offense is something Seattle has leaned on over the course of the season.
Crawford has been an outlier on a Mariner team that has been turning some heads. Defensive play is something that needs to be heavily considered when picking All-Star representatives. Crawford’s glove has earned him accolades, but now the addition of a solid bat makes him deserving of an All-Star nod.
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